Fourth-Gen Pricetag for F-35

Lockheed Martin, its industry partners, and the Defense Department agreed on a plan to reduce the F-35 Lightning II’s flyaway cost, putting it on par with fourth generation fighters by 2020, the company announced. Under the “Blueprint for Affordability,” Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems “will make an upfront investment into cost-cutting measures” totaling $170 million, said F-35 Program Executive Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan in a July 10 release. If cost reductions are achieved, DOD will make a matching investment to help industry recuperate the cost of the initial investment, according to the release. “By 2019, we expect that the F-35, with its unprecedented fifth generation capability, will be nearly equal in cost to any other fighter on the market, but with far more advanced capability,” said Bogdan. The measures also would benefit allied F-35 buyers, according to the company. Japan’s defense minister, speaking during a visit to the production line last week, said his country would consider upping its planned F-35 buy if costs come down, reported The Japan Times.